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EAC scholarship for tennis players is revoked after arrest

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Contributed photo/Courtesy GCSO: EAC tennis player Simona Iliev was arrested and jailed on charges of assault and disorderly conduct after acting strangely on Saturday.

By Jon Johnson

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GRAHAM COUNTY – An Eastern Arizona College tennis player from Eastern Europe has withdrawn her scholarship after being arrested on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Simona Iliev, 19, was arrested and admitted to the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on charges of assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and first-degree criminal offenses.

Graham County Sheriffs Office officers were initially dispatched to a home on North Reed Lane at about 9:08 a.m. regarding a suspicious woman wearing black leggings and a sports bra who was snooping through the victim’s car.

According to the victims’ statements to deputies, upon hearing a noise outside Iliev, they investigated and located them in their car. When approached, one victim said she believed Iliev was suffering from some sort of mental issue because of her actions and the way she looked. The victim said Iliev gave her a scary grin and told her I’m here to save you and then tried to grab the victim.

The victim then yelled at Iliev to stop and Iliev allegedly yelled at the victim’s son and tried to enter the residence before retreating into a ditch and running away. Another resident told me that Iliev had opened all the canal gates.

Iliev was in Graham Cemetery on top of a grave. She initially refused the orders of the deputies, insisting that her leg was injured.

While the deputy tried to detain Iliev, she reportedly resisted her arrest, saying she didn’t know what was going on as it was a culture shock for her. Iliev eventually had to be picked up by officers and placed in a patrol vehicle. Even then, she refused to cooperate with EMTs called to assess her medical condition. Iliev continued to refuse commands from the deputies until she threatened to be hit by a TASER. Iliev then complied and was taken into custody in another patrol vehicle.

However, Iliev continued to resist in the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center and refused medical treatment. Again, she had to be threatened with a TASER before following the orders of the deputies. Once in prison, the situation did not improve, and Iliev was placed in a restraint chair while screaming in a foreign language, according to the report.

The delegate contacted EAC and the tennis coach confirmed that Iliev was here on a scholarship to play tennis and had only been at EAC for about a week. The tennis coach said she had noticed strange behavior from Iliev and that at some point campus security had to step in because she was harassing and harassing her roommates and didn’t feel like it. The tennis coach also shared that she recently found out that a person she believed to be Iliev’s agent was actually her boyfriend. The coach advised that EAC withdraw her scholarship and send her back to her home country, according to the Sheriff’s Office report.

In prison, Iliev’s behavior remained disruptive until the next day, when she was in a good mood. However, she continued to exhibit strange behavior and video was shown throwing her food through her prison cell and standing on her bed acting strangely.

The prison contacted mental health professionals and a member of the crisis team met Iliev at the visitor center. However, reportedly, Iliev refused to talk to the crisis adviser. The report said a prison medical adviser would meet with Iliev later this week.

When questioned about the incident and its fallout, Kris McBride, EAC’s director of marketing and media relations, released the following statement.

“EAC student-athletes are expected to adhere to the College’s Student Code of Conduct at all times and to conduct themselves in a socially responsible manner at all times. When there is a serious violation of this Code, we take immediate action to address the situation.”

“Due to federal protections of student information, we are unable to comment on this individual’s academic status. EAC is working closely with the Graham County Attorneys Office to resolve this situation.”

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